Giving Compass' Take:

• Nell Edington, writing for Social Velocity, discusses how nonprofits need to position themselves within the market to critically look at their value and worth to communities and donors alike. 

• How can nonprofit boards help organizations navigate their resources strategically?

• Read about how nonprofits are innovating the sector through collaboration. 

As much as we might like to deny it, nonprofits exist in a market economy, which means that nonprofits, like everything else, must compete for customers and resources. Therefore it is critical that you understand where your nonprofit fits in the market.

While a business has one customer, a nonprofit has at least two distinct customer groups:

  1. Those who benefit from a nonprofit’s work (clients), and
  2. Those who fund that work (donors, government contractors, etc).

So it is absolutely critical that nonprofit leaders understand what unique value their work brings to these customers. This can be done through a Marketplace Map, which is one of the first exercises (along with a Theory of Change) that I help nonprofit leaders create during a strategic planning process.

In order to create their marketplace map, a nonprofit’s board and staff must answer these three key questions:

  1. Core Competencies: What superior assets (expertise, relationships, etc.) do we possess as an organization that are not easily replicable?
  2. Community Needs: What community needs/social problems are we attempting to address?
  3. Competitors/Collaborators: What other entities are working on some/all of those same problems?

Read the full article about mapping your nonprofit by Nell Edington at Social Velocity.